On reflection of the sad happenings of the past week, one wonders how much the decision making of our leaders have played in these and other events. The only good thing to come out of the week is that it brought Australians closer and people were seen to shun the horror and embraced good instead of evil. In times past, rules were made using commons sense, they reflected the will of the Australian people. Sadly in recent times this has not been the case, the amount of angst in New South Wales and most other States of Australia is very hard to deal with. The old saying is “if you can’t convince them confuse them” springs to mind. But I am compelled to tell the story of hundreds of Australians who are fighting the decisions of our current leaders.
You may notice that all submission writing and decisions are taken near and over Christmas, the thinking is that people will be partying and not notice these things slip through. The other strategy is to put many problems up at the same time, so the people will get confused and not know where to start. Then if this is not enough, community consultation is broken up so that the stakeholders are kept away from the general population or does not happen at all, this is so the general population is not educated about the importance of retaining our heritage or fight for the right to protect their properties, health and their families. The stakeholders consultation is handled and controlled with little time for questions, workshops are controlled to 15 minutes for ideas. And of course the process is given a fancy French name in some cases.
My interest and the heritage protectors in New South Wales, have been working to protect our heritage and history over a period of about 35 years, the Parramatta Community has fought for the retention of our precious items, we saved the Female Orphan School, we lost the Lennox Bridge, we won the Granville Swimming Pool (we had to accept demolition to retain the pool in Granville but retained parts of the old pool). The latest two items in the Parramatta area is the Moxham Quarry Wetland at Northmead, and the convict built buildings of the Parramatta Female Factory and associated buildings in Fleet Street Parramatta.
If the process goes ahead at the Female Factory in it’s present form, the people of Australia will lose the right to have the area “World Heritage Listed” because the criteria is that it has to be close to the original as possible. If the development goes ahead the way the NSW Government wants which is being pushed by “Urban Growth” the development arm of the NSW government, the area will be transformed by high rise buildings (some 6,000 units) all heritage value will be lost.
The procedure which should have been followed was to have evaluated the convict buildings and working out how they would be protected and set up as a unique Tourist area before the decision to rezone and sell the land. Was this decision made for the common good, most people who are working to protect those buildings do not think so.
The Moxham Quarry Wetland is on Crown Land, this has been put to Parramatta City Council four times since 2006. The question is why is Crown Land being sold when it is against the act. Why did the JRPP put it through to the “Gateway” even though it was not supported by Parramatta Council or the Community. There were four people at that meeting, the Council delegate outvoted three to one. The other question is who stands to gain from this sale of Public Land and how did they achieve this.
Our leaders have been navel gazing, the problem more of them believe that they are making decisions “For the Common Good”, this is not the case. People have been gaoled for protecting their property, people have been roughed up because they have had the hide to protest. The big banks who are making trillions of dollars are tossing out farmers off their properties and selling their farms because there has been a drought for many years. Millionaires have been allowed to make dubious deals to reroute important infrastructure to suit them and not the community and their needs. Big mining has been allowed to build close to homes, farms and food bowls. Why has this been allowed?
This has been allowed because of money, what happens when all our homes are built out and there is no green space, all our heritage has been destroyed or degraded. What happens when our infrastructure will not carry the traffic and the waste. What will happen when our food bowls and our water tables are poisoned. And what will happen when the Government has sold the people’s land. We cannot eat money, will the decision makers get enough money to move to another planet. What will be left for our children and their children.
It is not just State Governments that have this disease, it is all levels, but local government will suffer, do they realise that a lot of Councillor’s will lose their positions if amalgamations is realised (which by the way is another word for take over). It will be the survival of the biggest.
So members of the Australian Community are you happy with the way you are being represented? Is it for the good of all Australians or only for a few privileged people.